Shaken Baby Syndrome
Shaken baby syndrome is a group of symptoms in babies or small children. They may be temporary problems, severe disabilities, or death. The symptoms are caused by injuries from a violent shaking or hit to the head. The severity of the symptoms will depend on the type of injuries to the baby's brain.
Shaken baby syndrome is caused by shaking or jerking a baby or young child. Even a few seconds of shaking can injure a baby. Babies and young children are more vulnerable to injuries from this type of movement because:
- The neck muscles of young children, especially babies, are not strong. It can be tough for them to fully support their heavy heads or protect themselves from harsh movements.
- Baby's brains are more fragile than adults. Shaking movements can cause the brain to move back and forth inside their skulls. The movement can injure the brain and tear small blood vessels. The bleeding can affect the brain and the eyes.
Shaken baby syndrome usually happens when a parent or other caregiver becomes angry or frustrated. It often happens because the baby will not stop crying.
Brain Bruised from Whiplash—Similar Effect in Shaken Baby Syndrome
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Last reviewedSeptember 2013by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.